BMW Cars 1999-06

Trailing Arm

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Removal & Installation



E30 Models

The independent rear suspension used on E30 models is comprised of a left and right side trailing arm. Each trailing arm has a pressed-in wheel bearing, and two pressed-in bushings that allow each trailing arm to pivot separately from the rear sub-frame, which also supports the differential.


NOTE
The trailing arm can be removed along with the drive axle without the need for special tools. However if the trailing arm is to be replaced, special tools are needed for the drive flange and wheel bearing removal and installation.

  1. If replacing the trailing arm;
    1. The rear wheel bearing and shafts seals must also be replaced.
    2.  
    3. Remove wheel center caps and loosen the axle spindle nut.
    4.  

  2.  


NOTE
The wheel bearing requires the use of special tools to press in place.

  1. Loosen the rear wheel lug bolts 1 / 8 turn.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. Remove the inner CV-joint from the final drive output flange.
  6.  
  7. If replacing the trailing arm:
    1. Remove the axle from the rear wheel hub. For more detailed axle removal procedures, please refer to Section 7.
    2.  
    3. Remove the pressed in drive flange using BMW Tool No. 33 4 010 or a suitable heavy duty wheel bearing flange slide hammer.
    4.  

  8.  


NOTE
The drive flange requires the use of special tools to press in place.

  1. Disconnect the parking brake cable.
  2.  
  3. Remove the brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir, or captivate the brake system by placing clear plastic over the reservoir opening and reinstalling the cap.
  4.  
  5. Place a drain pan under the brake lines, and disconnect the hydraulic brake line.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect the sway bar outer link bracket.
  8.  
  9. Support the trailing arm and remove the lower shock bolt, then slowly lower the trailing arm.
  10.  
  11. Remove the two through bolts and lockwashers, and lower the trailing arm from the vehicle.
  12.  


NOTE
Offset trailing arm bushings are available to adjust the rear toe, however they must be pressed in using suitable press tools.

To install:

  1. Installation is in reverse order of assembly, noting the following rear suspension fastener torque specifications:

    Trailing arm-to-subframe fasteners: 49 ft. lbs. (67 Nm); 10.9 fasteners, 57 ft. lbs. (77 Nm)
     
    Lower shock mounting bolt: 57 ft. lbs. (77 Nm); 10.9 fasteners, 74 ft. lbs. (100 Nm).
     

  2.  
  3. Bleed the brake system as outlined in Section 9.
  4.  
  5. Test drive the vehicle and check the alignment. Align as necessary.
  6.  

E36 Models

The independent rear suspension used on the E36 models is comprised of a left and right trailing arm and an upper and lower control arm for each side. This suspension system offers easy adjustment of both the rear toe and camber, allowing a driver to tailor the settings to suit their driving style and road conditions.

Always matchmark the areas that affect the alignment settings before disassembly.



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. With the inner C/V-joint disconnected, the upper and lower control arm inner bushings and mounting bolts are visible



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The outer portion of the upper and lower control arms is attached to the trailing arm. The brake caliper has been removed for a more detailed view



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The lower control arm-to-trailing arm mounting bolt is keyed into an eccentric washer for camber adjustment. Matchmark the washer before removal or adjusting


NOTE
The trailing arm can be removed along with the drive axle without the need for special tools. However if the trailing arm is to be replaced, special tools are needed for the drive flange and wheel bearing removal and installation.

  1. If replacing the trailing arm;
    1. The rear wheel bearing and shafts seals must also be replaced.
    2.  
    3. Remove wheel center caps and loosen the axle spindle nut.
    4.  

  2.  


NOTE
The wheel bearing requires the use of special tools to press in place.

  1. Loosen the rear wheel lug bolts 1 / 8 turn.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. Remove the inner CV-joint from the final drive output flange. If replacing the trailing arm;
    1. Remove the axle from the rear wheel hub. For more detailed axle removal procedures, please refer to Section 7.
    2.  
    3. Remove the pressed in drive flange using a suitable heavy duty wheel bearing flange slide hammer.
    4.  

  6.  


NOTE
The drive flange requires the use of special tools to press in place.

  1. Disconnect the parking brake cable.
  2.  
  3. Remove the brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir, or captivate the brake system by placing clear plastic over the reservoir opening and reinstalling the cap.
  4.  
  5. Place a drain pan under the brake lines, and disconnect the hydraulic brake line.
  6.  
  7. Support the trailing arm and remove the lower shock bolt, then slowly lower the trailing arm.
  8.  
  9. Remove the upper control arm-to-trailing arm locknut and through bolt.
  10.  
  11. Matchmark the lower control arm-to-trailing arm eccentric washer to retain the camber settings during installation. Support the trailing arm and remove the control arm-to-trailing arm locknut and through bolt. Make sure the eccentric washer is matchmarked.
  12.  
  13. Matchmark the trailing arm bushing bracket where it mounts to the body to maintain the toe settings during assembly. Remove the three bracket-to-body mounting bolts lower the trailing arm from the vehicle.
  14.  

To install:

  1. Installation is in reverse order of assembly, noting the following rear suspension fastener torque specifications :

    Upper control arm-to-subframe M12 10.9 fasteners: 57 ft. lbs. (77 Nm)
     
    Lower control arm-to-subframe M12 10.9 fasteners: 57 ft. lbs. (77 Nm)
     
    Control arm top/bottom-to-trailing arm bolts: 81 ft. lbs. (110 Nm)
     
    Trailing arm bushing bracket-to-body bolts: 57 ft. lbs. (77 Nm)
     
    Trailing arm bushing-to-bracket through bolt: 81 ft. lbs. (110 Nm)
     
    Lower shock mounting bolt: 57 ft. lbs. (77 Nm), or if marked 10.9, 74 ft. lbs. (100 Nm).
     

  2.  
  3. Bleed the brake system as outlined in Section 9.
  4.  
  5. Test drive the vehicle and check the alignment. Align as necessary.
  6.  

 
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